Jan. 18, 2013 – Jim Kiernan
has been named as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Ill. Kiernan is the first staff addition for Randy Awrey
, who was appointed head football coach last week.
“I am very pleased to be joining Coach Awrey at Concordia-Chicago,” said Kiernan. “I am excited for the opportunity to help the Cougar football program continue its recent success. Concordia is an institution with a great academic reputation and location right outside one of the great cities of the world. I look forward to being a part of this community.”
The appointment of Kiernan reunites him with Awrey for the first time since 2007. The football partnership between the two goes back to St. Lawrence University in the late 1980s where Kiernan played his collegiate ball and Awrey was a member of the coaching staff. When Awrey became head coach at Kentucky Wesleyan University in 1990, Kiernan was named the offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. The two have also worked together at Lakeland College (1998) and Saginaw Valley State University (1999-2006). While at Saginaw Valley, they led the team to two conference championships, five NCAA II playoff appearances and a number one ranking in the 2003 season.
“Randy is my extended family,” said Kiernan. “I thoroughly appreciate his friendship and the opportunities he has given me. We have enjoyed many successes in football, and I believe that history will repeat itself here at Concordia.”
Kiernan comes to River Forest from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., where he served as head coach of the NCAA Division II program for five seasons. During his tenure, he led the Knights to their first consecutive winning seasons (2009-10) in 15 years. He led Gannon to victories over two nationally-ranked teams, Slippery Rock University (#14) in 2011 and Bloomsburg University (#19) in 2007. Kiernan's players earned a total of six All-American selections, 25 all-conference selections, 10 all-region honors and 72 conference All-Academic selections.
During his 21 seasons of collegiate coaching, 17 of those as an offensive coordinator and 16 as quarterbacks coach, Kiernan has seen his quarterbacks finish in the top 25 for passing efficiency 10 times, Kiernan has mentored 10 offensive players who played professionally in the NFL, CFL and AFL. He has also influenced the career of Matt LaFleur, who played at Saginaw Valley State and is now the quarterback coach for Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins.
Kiernan's coaching career, which also includes stops at Division I Alabama A & M University and Division II Mercyhurst College, has its roots in his native Queens, N.Y. He played high school football at St. Francis Prep under Vincent O'Connor, currently in his 60th
year at the school as head coach. The school's notable football alumni include NFL legend Vince Lombardi and former NFL player and coach Dan Henning.
An economics major who graduated St. Lawrence in 1990, the native of Queens, N.Y. aspired for a position on Wall Street. However, as he coached under Awrey for the first few years, he discovered where his eventual calling lay.
“I realized that I had a true passion for the game and, more importantly, that I could make a difference in young men's lives,” said Kiernan. “It's funny how your life's path can go in a completely different direction than what you envision early on, but I am very happy and blessed to be coaching football.”
Kiernan and his wife Colleen have been married since 2004.